Former Cultural Champion Janet Carl Smith – Cultural Connections Ep. 3

Former Cultural Champion Janet Carl Smith – Cultural Connections Ep. 3

“I wanted to be in the places, where I would be the one who could speak up and say  ‘Have you thought about the arts? ‘ “

Janet Carl Smith is an ardent supporter of the Chicago Cultural Alliance, recipient of the Alliance’s Cultural Champion Award in 2014, and has been an ally for the arts and culture community in Chicago for many years. You can learn about how she used her positions over the years to advocate for the arts in the spaces that not everyone can access and why you should do the same!

Check out this episode of Cultural Connections featuring Janet Carl Smith and as always, Chicago Cultural Alliance executive director Peter Vega on our YouTube Channel or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

The Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Board of Directors pledged to match dollar for dollar donations up to $5,000 until Giving Tuesday on December 1st. Your gift of makes double the impact when you support the Chicago Cultural Alliance today.

#Giving Tuesday Member Roundtable

#Giving Tuesday Member Roundtable

Don’t miss the Alliance’s #GivingTuesday Roundtable

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 at 12 pm on YouTube


On December 1, 2020, people all around the world are coming together to tap into the power of human connection and strengthen communities and change our world. Will you be one of them?

The Chicago Cultural Alliance will be participating in #GivingTuesday by hosting a Member Storytelling Roundtable. We want to give Members the opportunity to tell you about the struggles they have had this year and how the Alliance has helped them. The Roundtable will premiere on our YouTube Channel and an extended audio – only version will premiere as a part of the Cultural Connections Podcast on all podcast streaming platforms.

By joining us for this event, you’re proving that in times of uncertainty, generosity can bring the whole world together.

Here is how you can participate:

1. Mark your calendar by RSVPing to this event here.

2. Give. On December 1, go to and donate. You can also support our organization in other ways by visiting our Support Page.

3. Spread the word. Encourage your friends and family to join you in creating real impact on December 1 by sharing what our mission means to you and why you support our organization. Make sure to use hashtag #GivingTuesday and tag us so we can share!

Let’s rally together to create a more inclusive Chicago.

Cultural Connections Episode 2 w/ Soo Lon Moy!

Cultural Connections Episode 2 w/ Soo Lon Moy!

During the COVID-19 pandemic, racism towards the Asian American Community  has only increased. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we come together to stand up against social injustices such as this and show our support for these communities. 

Learn more about the history of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago through our interview with Soo Lon Moy, this year’s Outstanding Community Leader

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, we must acknowledge the direct impact on Chicago’s over 40 cultural heritage centers, museums, and historical societies. The long term financial stability of these important community-based organizations is in question. Many are still providing resources to their communities such as elder care and food relief. Others are working diligently to engage their constituents who are staying home. Continued engagement with their community is not only important to the stability of these organizations but now more than ever Chicagoans need to be uplifted by cultural enrichment and immersed in an ethos of mutual respect.

Cultural Connections replaces our annual MOSAIC Gala and Fundraiser. Help us to create a more inclusive Chicago as we work towards a goal of $50,000 by making a donation today.

Cultural Connections is now LIVE!

Cultural Connections is now LIVE!

Welcome to Cultural Connections: Stories of Resilience!

Our first guest is Angel Ysaguiree, our 2020 Cultural Champion Awardee. Angel moved to the US from Belize when he was 12 years old and has been an exceptional cultural leader in Chicago for 24 years. Although we were unable to celebrate him in May, we invited him to participate in our Cultural Connections podcast to share thoughts on the future of the Arts & Culture Sector. 

The future is bright. 

The breadth and depth in conversation

 on equity in the arts happening right now

 is one that has not been heard before. 

Your support of the Alliance and our mission has never been more vital. At the Alliance, our members stand together as a positive force – building cultural understanding and solidarity, protecting and promoting the diverse immigrant and native cultural institutions that make Chicago unique.

Announcing Cultural Connections: A Visual Podcast

Announcing Cultural Connections: A Visual Podcast

Cultural Connections: A Visual Podcast

Hosted by Alliance Executive Director, Peter Vega


Premiere Date: Tuesday, November 10th at 12 PM CT

With Covid-19 re-engineering our world, the Alliance recognizes the importance of sticking to our roots, with our primary focus being to uphold our mission: To connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago. To do that, we’ve brought back our original name, Cultural Connections, and are using it to curate a platform designed to raise the voices of Chicago’s minority communities.

Each episode, you will hear from a different cultural perspective about a topic related to cultural diversity, inclusion and equity. The theme for our first series of episodes is RESILIENCE.

The Cultural Connections Podcast will be available in video form on the Chicago Cultural Alliance YouTube Channel, and in podcast form on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Podchaser every Tuesday from November 10th to December 22nd.  


“Embracing diversity puts us all in good hands. Allstate is proud to sponsor the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s MOSAIC 2020.”

CULTURAL CONNECTIONS replaces our beloved yearly fundraiser, the MOSAIC Gala. Throughout the podcast, we will hear stories from our honored MOSIAC Awardees and Sponsors, past and present, as we march toward a fundraising goal of $50,000!


Peter Vega

Peter Vega

The podcast is hosted by the Chicago Cultural Alliance’s Executive Director, Peter Vega (he / him). Before working at the Alliance, Peter worked in various roles within the museum industry, including at Museum Hack, The Guggenheim Museum, the Intrepid Museum, the Jewish Museum, and more. His experience extends to visitor services, marketing, and education. Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies Education from Manhattanville College and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from New York University.


For this first series, our guests will be our honored MOSAIC awardees, past and present, and our Alliance sponsors! Unfortunately, due to Covid – 19, the Alliance did not get to hold our yearly MOSAIC Gala. So, in place of the gala, our first series, will highlight the voices of those honored Members, present them with their awards, and share our stories of resilience in the wake of the pandemic.

Soo Lon Moy

Outstanding Community Leader

mosaic 2020

Immediate Past Board President at the Chinese American Museum of Chicago

Kathleen Mcdonald

Outstanding Community Leader

mosaic 2020


former executive director at the mitchell Museum of the american indian

Angel Ysaguirre

cultural champion

mosaic 2020

Executive director at the Court theater

janet carl smith

former cultural champion mosaic 2014

monique brinkman-hill

executive director at the south side community arts center

david farren

Executive Director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation



( They / Them / Theirs )

Marketing Coordinator 

[email protected]


( She / Her / Hers )

Member & Donor Engagement Manager

[email protected]

Peter vega

( He / Him / His )

Executive Director

[email protected]